Why I game: The importance of fun.

In my last post I went over the main reasons I can never seriously play LOTRO, or any grindy MMO again and whilst it’s all very well for me to say what I hated about LOTRO maybe I should balance that out by telling you what makes me not only want to play a game but then come back to play again and again.

The answer, it turns out, is simple. Fun. Just pure, unadulterated fun. And if a game isn’t providing me with fun then I have to ask myself what the hell is the point in playing it, which seems to be a point of view Arenanet agrees with 🙂

But what, for me at least, makes a game fun? Well now that is a question that can’t be answered so simply but being the brave little soldier I am, I’ll try 😉

Tell me a story…

First off I need a story. I’m a narrative driven lad and I can’t tell you how many games I’ve dismissed lately because their stories were either weak or sounded far too generic. LOTRO obviously had a huge advantage with me here because I’ve been in love with Middle Earth since reading LotR when I was about 13 but even when it came to GW2 I have to say I was very sceptical. Every time I heard about the game, every fan blog post or podcast that joked about its release date just reconfirmed what I thought to myself – it sounded like yet another cookie cutter fantasy game that would annoy me for poorly mimicking Tolkien. Yet something kept dragging me back, kept pulling my attention towards the game. Eventually it was Rubi Bayer’s enthusiasm in the Massively Speaking podcast that convinced me to actually look into the game seriously and almost straight away I loved what I read – here was a game who’s designers not only wanted to make it fun but wanted to pour in enough lore to sink several other lesser MMOs. I found myself suddenly falling in love with a whole new world.

Let me play, not think…

After a story I need easy gameplay. I don’t mean some kind of dumbed down system but rather an intuitive experience that is easy to learn and soon becomes second nature. The control system for Left 4 Dead 2 is a dream – it vanishes into the background and just lets me play. At the other end of the scale is the Legendary Item system in LOTRO which just leaves me scratching my head and feeling very, very frustrated. Somewhere in between is nice – the skills system in GW2 recently went from (for me at least) a big old mess of “choose anything y’all!” to a much-easier-to-understand-without-spending-hours-searching-wikis-and-forums tree system. I like that. It is powerful yet I can instantly understand it and not break my play-fun-headspace in the way that even thinking about LOTRO’s LIs does.

I vant to be alone, dharlinks…

Next I need to be alone. I want to be able to play the damn game alone. But I also want to be able to group dead easily. A contradiction I know, but one that I know I’m not alone in. I loved the group play in Left 4 Dead (ignoring the arseholes you could get stuck with), found things a little more restrictive and forced in LOTRO and breathed a sigh of relief when I played GW2. Grouping just works in GW2 so well! From formal guild membership to totally ad hoc quest groups, it is just a dream to join up and play with other people. My only note of worry about GW2 so far is about how bloody hard it can be to tackle some things on your own and make no mistake, I like to play on my own. I have kids, limited playtime, my own goals and a grasshopper mind and these things can make playing in a group a pain. I don’t always want to run with everyone else into a cave, I might want to explore the hills above instead and any game that wants to draw me in forever had better understand that. Give me a way to complete the whole damn thing on my own because I guarantee you that 99% of the time that’s *exactly* how I’ll be playing. I have lost count of how many times I simply couldn’t finish quests in LOTRO without asking kin mates for help and every damn time I felt cheated because these very nice people would come over to help with their level capped engines of destruction and reduce my experience of the quest to that of a spectator and that is not fun. Hell, why would I even buy a game I have no hope of being able to play?

Hell is other people…

Another not fun thing is other people, or rather the kind of knobends computer games seem to attract in abundance. One thing I always loved about LOTRO and have almost always hated in Left 4 Dead is the other players. In LOTRO I found a mature & intelligent community seemingly always willing to answer questions no matter how newbie they were. L4D2, on the other thumbless & rotting hand, seems to be infested with pricks. Still, it does mean when you find some good people you stick together for dear life, but that’s hardly a selling point is it. What I’m hoping GW2 manages to achieve is to take the freedom of L4D’s grouping and maintain the decency of LOTRO’s community and if it manages that then I think it will be one hell of a multilayer experience. *crosses fingers and prays to the gods of good friends*

You grind me right down, right down like a record baby…

Speaking of LOTRO and all things not fun, do I need to mention grind again? No, thought not. Still, whilst I may not mention grind I still have to explain what I want to see in its place. For kill deeds I don’t want to kill 300 bloody spiders, I want to tackle a quest chain that leads to a spider queen! For skills I don’t want to find glorified goblin toilet paper (ssorry, missing book pages) by killing 600 orcs, I want to break into a library and steal books! For reputation I don’t want to collect 400 shiny stones from 1,000 piles of recently slaughtered lizard guts, I want to save the chieftan’s daughter from a bloody scary witch’s tower! GIVE ME STORY, NOT GRIND! Make me feel like I’m a hero, not a street cleaner. Jesus H Presley people! If you ever, EVER ask me to waste my time again I’m gone. If, on the other hand, you offer fun, interesting quests and storylines I can feel involved in I will sit on your lap and stroke your luxuriant beard until the cows some home. Grind bad, play good – it is that bloody simple and GW2 gets it.

How much?!?

Do you know what the biggest reason me for never paying an MMO up until last May was? No, of course you don’t, you hardly know me after all but let’s pretend you all guessed correctly and at the same time. Yes, that’s right you clever lot! Monthly subscription fees! Now a tenner a month isn’t much and has always been within my budget (even after kids came along and ruined my whole life blessed me with their sunshine) yet I could never, ever bring myself to consider paying every month for a game. I only took the punt on LOTRO after finding out it was free and even though I bought the 12 month subscription I never counted this as a recurring fee because it just feel like paying for the game. If Turbine hadn’t totally pissed me off with a stupid combination of grind and greed then I would have happily paid another £100 last month, but their loss is my gain and now I have been shown the light by Arenanet it will have to be a very special game indeed that sees me ever, EVER pay more than once to play it.

Greed is so not good…

Did I mention ‘greed’ in that last part? Why yes, I do believe I did. Look dear game companies I totally understand you have to make a profit but when that desire to make money spills over into the realms of pure, naked corporate greed then I’m off. I am *not* a walking wallet for you to dip your hands into at every opportunity and selling me a feature that I feel you should have included into the game is the surest way to piss me off royally (*cough* LOTRO *cough*). Now I have no idea how this is going to work in GW2 but my hope is they put enough items in the shops (both important & fluff) that I want to buy from it without pulling a cheap, shitty stunt like the LOTRO wallet scam. Don’t rip me off and you’ll find more of my disposable income is predisposed to you (see what I did there?).

TL/DR (What do you mean you didn’t read the rest, you rude swines!)

So, there you have it. Just make your one-off purchase intuitive games full of fun, story driven adventures that I can complete on my own or with other friendly people with occasional trips to the cash shop for fun items rather than outright system improvements and I’m all yours, oiled and ready in your tent. Oh, and don’t ever, EVER make me grind. You wouldn’t like me when I grind.

The mill of God grinds slow but grinds exceedingly small…

This time last year I was deeply in love with a type of game that was new to me – the MMORPG. Sure I’d played in Second Life for over four years by that point so I had experienced the MMO part, and I had grown up playing paper & pencil role playing games such as MERP & Traveller so I had some knowledge of the RPG part, but to find myself playing a computer game that combined both was a revelation!

LOTRO, for that was the game, quickly proved to be a wonderful time-sink as I had a new world to explore that was free of the irritations that had built up for me in Linden Lab’s creation (lag, crazy management decisions, fugly landscapes, dumb but powerful players) and which offered me a play experience tailored to reaching an impressive goal. Unfortunately, within a few short months I began to realise that the green grass on the other side of hill might just be concealing a lot of thorny brambles.

Now, not having grown up playing MMOs I came to LOTRO as complete & unspoilt virgin. Yes I understood about existing in a 3D virtual persistent world, but I knew nothing about MMO combat or questing or levelling & skill progression. Like a man possessed with the desire to acquire new, exciting knowledge I threw myself into learning everything I could about just how MMOs work and this proved to be such a mammoth task that in my study of the details I simply overlooked the obvious, hulking elephant sat squarely in the room.

MMOs steal your time.

I don’t mean you become addicted and want to play every waking moment. No, every game or hobby does that at some point and it’s a normal reaction when doing something you enjoy to want to do lots more of it. At one time I would have given in and played as much as possible but now I’m married with kids that simply isn’t an option and I have to ration my on-line time and live vicariously through other people’s blogs, videos and podcasts. But this isn’t what I’m getting at when I say MMOs steal your time.

No, what I mean is that in the main the MMO business model makes money either through charging players regular subscriptions or leading them to make repeated purchases from an online micro-transaction store. The games themselves have evolved to feed the business model and a toxic relationship has grown up between them and you, the player. The games either deliberately space out content so you stay in game longer needlessly wasting hours of your time just so you pay another subscription fee, or they cynically build in mechanisms whereby you have to pay hard cash to overcome some inconvenience in the game.

Now I only have LOTRO to fall back on when I want to give examples but from what I hear many other games pull similar stunts to both greater & lesser degrees. To help me explain, let me give you some examples from 10 month playing Turbine’s LOTRO.

When Ranhold hit the right level, I wanted to start the process of getting his three legendary skills from his class trainer. All classes have the same route, you hit 35 (I think) and you can buy three books from your trainer that are ancient texts on your class. Unfortunately, because of their great age, several pages from each are missing and you are tasked with finding them. Once you do you can unlock one of three skills (one per book and presumably learnt from reading the great wisdom contained in each mouldy tome). Now, putting aside many logic issues (such as why rare books are for sale from trainers all over Middle Earth to all the practitioners of your class, and just how come these pages have fallen into the hands of any old bi-pedal creature in certain areas and of a certain level) the thing that really ripped my knitting about this task was how obvious it became that this was a just a mechanic to slow me down. It took me weeks of playing every evening and slaughtering hundreds upon hundreds of bad guys to find these pages and this was simply to keep me in the game long enough to charge me more subscriptions fees. Each book *could* have been gathered in a series of instanced quests that would have felt more logical and been far more fun than mindlessly hanging about waiting for the same orcs you had just killed for the twentieth time to respawn in exactly the same spots so you could kill them all again for the twenty first time and hope against hope the Gods of Random Number Generation would smile on you this time! But you see, the trouble with a quest line is it can be done in an evening and that isn’t good for poor old Turbine who want the poor sods playing their games to spew up more & more moolah. They can’t reach through the screen and pick your pocket so instead they manipulate their game so they can steal your time and charge you for it.

This wasn’t the only example, oh no. Reputation grinds always acted as a break on the story by stopping me in my tracks just so I could collect a bazillion twigs for no good or logical reason. Or what about kicking the crap out of several hundred (bad) dwarves in one mine just so I could get a goat from some (this time good) dwarves in another mine that would allow me to get around yet another mine full of dwarves (of which orientation I was past caring). And let’s not forget the three tasks assigned to you at around level 50? The ones that see you travelling all over the sodding place just to collect rare-ish drops from slugs and orcs and turtles and wargs and Uncle Bloody Tom Cobley for all I know? Why? For what reason?

To waste your time. To make you pay more.

And then there are the cash shop sinks. Every expansion Turbine seem to add a new grindy mechanic that includes an item you can get in game if you spend hundreds of hours killing hundreds of orcs just so you can then upgrade your Legendary Item in a system so designed to strip the fun out of feeling heroic you can only imagine it was designed by people who use Microsoft Excel to read War & Peace. Brian over at CMP said in one of his recent podcasts that he had resigned himself to the fact that every time Turbine put out a new expansion or update there is a very strong chance they will also add a new mechanic that will drive people to the store. This, to me at least, is simply not acceptable and not something I can accept.

But, I hear some of you say, I’m a Jonny Come Lately to these games so who am I to say that grinding is pointless or that adding cash item mechanics are bad form? True enough. I don’t speak for all MMO gamers, just me and I’ve spoken to lots of folks who love, or at least don’t mind, gathering reputation items and measure their success in gathering rancid pages from rotting orc corpses as quickly as possible. It’s just that it is not for me. I don’t like a company rationing my enjoyment of a game I’ve paid for. No, what I want is to buy a game and then play it how the hell I want to. I don’t want to have to spend hours and hours repeating menial, boring tasks. I may still choose to do that, but *I* want that choice and that is something I don’t think Turbine every truly offered me.

I also don’t like to feel as though I’m a wallet with legs to be opened and emptied when they feel like it. I want to feel like a valued customer and again I don’t think that Turbine have ever really demonstrated that I’m anything but a sucker to them.

Now please don’t feel I’m hitting just on Turbine here. Obviously I am but only because they are the only ones I have any experience with and I’m sure many game companies and their games are the same. I don’t play LOTRO any more and I’m damn sure I won’t play any game if I read even one review that mentions how grindy it is. Like refusing to continue reading bad book, life is too short to piss away playing games that just aren’t fun.

The art of playing with myself…

Well, this title should garner some interesting “found from search terms” if nothing else 🙂

I’m on the eve of returning to work after eight weeks off on adoption leave and I’m as thrilled about that as you’d imagine so I thought I’d post a quick round up on all the games I’ve played over these last few weeks, if for no other reason than to cheer me up over the next few days.

LOTRO: Of course I played this, but not for about three weeks following the wallet scandal. To be honest I’d pretty much burnt out grinding since Dec so I need a break. I will be back, but I doubt for a while as Guild Wars 2 will be out soon-ish I think.

Guild Wars 1: I tried, I really did but I just didn’t like this game. It felt so basic compared to the gameplay mechanics of LOTRO that I just couldn’t get into it. I think I’ll just save myself for number 2 🙂

Star Trek: Ahhhh, this is a lovely game and although I read there are still problems in gameplay with it after the free to play transition I didn’t experience any. Mainly this is because I didn’t actually play it that much. LOTRO burn out seems to have knackered me for all MMOs at the moment, which leads me nicely to my non-MMO game fun…

Left 4 Dead 2: Awww man this is still an amazing game and since my last playing (some time around May 11 when LOTRO took over my life) the devs have added all the maps from the first game to it making it double, nay triple! the fun 😀

L.A. Noire: Man alive what a game! I bought it cheap in a Steam sale. Brilliant, immersive and seriously… noire.

Portal 2 Again from a Steam sale this is the most I’ve laughed with a game since Portal 1. Quite simply one of the best games I have ever played.

And that’s my lot. It’ll be L.A. Noire until Guild Wars 2 comes out, but frankly I expect work to be an absolute bastard and take up most of my time for a while. Arse.

#LOTRO: £10, 7 useless soldiers & 1 unsubscription…

You all know I’ve been unhappy with all the non-fun stuff in LOTRO of late, right? From the dumb grind of gathering pages for books in a fashion that makes no sense, through the headache-inducing confusion of Legendary (ha!) Items to the just plain stupid amount of travelling about at the end of Volume 1 of the Epic Story, LOTRO has become, for me at least, a meal of steak where for every one bite of delicious, tasty prime rump I have to chew my way through five mouthfuls of sawdust first.

I still enjoy it, but in the space of a two months I’ve gone from rampant lover to going through the motions partner and frankly I don’t want that. I don’t want my game time to be mostly repetitive grind (although don’t mistake repetition for grind – look at Left 4 Dead 2 which masters repetition wonderfully) and therefore I find my eye wandering, although not too far just yet because of one simple factor: I have paid for a year of LOTRO and I don’t really want to waste my money by not playing it. Of course this strikes me, as no doubt it does you too, as not the best of reasons to stick with a game but I’ll let it slide for now as I have a bigger fish to fry as you’ll see.

Back when Turbine migrated our EU based servers into their NA based ones (June 2011) they offered the subscription deal of £99 for 12 months, effectively giving 2 months free over the per-month price. I snapped it up as before then I’d been paying more than the monthly fee in micro transactions in the store therefore it seemed a sensible move. But lately I’ve been wondering if I should bother renewing the subscription and instead drop back down to free instead and here are my reasons why:

  1. Guild Wars 2 is coming. I simply think I will be playing this more than LOTRO therefore why pay money for a game I won’t get the benefit from?
  2. The grindy nature of LOTRO has finally got to me. I completed Volume 1 (the story of which I loved!) not with a feeling of “Wow! Give me Vol 2 now!” but rather more of “Thank fuck that is over – at least I have one character who has completed it and I never want to have to do that again!”, and that doesn’t strike me as good.
  3. All the new content coming to LOTRO is bringing no benefits to me what so ever – it’s all end-game stuff, level 65-75 content and it will be months and months before I get there. Hell, even then so what? It’s just more of the same – kill 300 boars, 400 trees, 1,000 soldiers of X, Y or Z denomination. The upcoming Great River and Rohan content will give nothing to me whatsoever.

Yet even with all that I was still contemplating renewing as I love Middle Earth so much and really get a thrill from being a part of it. But then Turbine went and did two things that have pretty much made up my mind for me. They have asked me to pay for things I don’t believe I should be paying for.

Now I’m not a Store hater. Turbine have to make money, they have to satisfy their shareholders and pay their staff as well as invest in developing the game further, but when they ask me to cough up *more* money than my monthly subs for features that should be just a free part of the game, well that’s the point I cancel my sub and move to another game. So, given I *don’t* hate the Store and I *do* love the game, what are these things Turbine are asking my to pony up for? What could possibly be so offensive as to make we want to drop back to a free player? Well, let me tell you:

The first is the ‘skirmish soldier coming into the game’ feature, called by Turbine the Landscape Soldier. Turbine have teased us all with the promise that soon we’d be able to take our skirmish soldier anywhere with us and I was genuinely excited by that because I mainly solo-play and some extra help, even LOTRO’s not-very-good AI-help, is always welcome. Except now it appears that this will not be an awesome ‘free’ feature that a rival game like SWTOR just has built in, instead it will be a feature I will have to pay to use. I will have to buy tokens from the Store (or via skirmish tokens, but don’t get me started on my ‘tyranny of skirmish barter items forcing you to stop play and skirmish for days on end instead’ rant) to allow this soldier to help me, and even then only for an hour at a time. Jesus. Where do I start? What if I don’t want to, or suddenly can’t play for an hour? That will be a token only partly used and these things cost real money! A quid a pop by the look of it over on Contains Moderate Peril (and excellent site, btw)! So essentially Turbine are offering this feature to the wealthy (or careless) and the rest of us can go swing for all they care. Nice.

But that pales into comparison next to the barter wallet. Oh god, if Turbine ever do this I will be disgusted with them (I say *if* as it is currently on their test server and looks set to be released any day now but as things stand it hasn’t gone live yet). Essentially Turbine are offering an upgrade to the current in-game wallet that will allow it to take all the various bartering currencies out of valuable inventory space and into this one-stop interface. Nothing wrong with that, I hear you say, especially as this is an improved (i.e. collects all of the currencies rather than just some of them) version of a feature they added to the game a while back and I would agree with you were it for one teensy tiny little ickle wickle point. They want to charge me £10 for it. Ten fucking quid. TEN! Ten quid to fix to an in-game feature they added in a half-arsed/broken way in the first place. This is akin to some dodgy builder badly installing a new window for you and then asking you to pay him to put it right and that, my friends, stinks to high heaven.

So fuck that! That’s done it for me. No one tries to fleece me so blatantly. Thank you Turbine for making up my mind. Come June I shall save myself a full £100 (ha! and the bloody rest! I hope the missus never finds out just how much I spent on this game) by not re-subscribing to your game. Oh I’ll still play, but I’ll stick to the epic storyline & exploring as that’s what I love – all the grinding you make me do, all the barriers you place in the way of me having fun just so you can slow me down enough to need the cash services of your shop, well I’ll say goodbye – and good riddance – to those. Instead I’ll spend my money elsewhere. Guild Wars 2 I guess, maybe Star Trek online. Anywhere but with a company that thinks so little of its customers to try and pull such a low-down, sneaky, cheating crappy stunt as selling them a fix to its own nalls up.

Q: Who would be daft enough to have a business model in which your customers can’t pay you? A: Oh those crazy kooky Lindens!

Update (3rd March 11): I had a follow up “How Did We Do?” questionnaire from the Lab asking me to rate their recent help. I shit ye not. Also, despite a general email about local payments systems now being in place, I still can’t register my card for the same reasons I ranted about below. LL for the win!


Righto, first off let me say that I may well be wrong about this but if I am I’m buggered if I can see how. Still, I could be and if I am I shall offer my apologies to the good old Lab right now. Somehow I doubt anyone there will give a shit one way or the other.

When I first created an avatar in Nov 2006 I waited a few weeks before putting any actual real money into the game, but when I decided the time had come I slapped in my credit card with the greatest of ease and have had no problems whatsoever since. I even added the same card to Ryne when I created him in 07. Since those days I haven’t created another avatar… or rather, hadn’t. I created Ya (Steal Head) late last year and have just created Bryce last week. The noticeable difference between the first two and these new ones is that I can’t connect my credit card to them.

Can’t do it.

Simply won’t work.

Ohhhh I’ve put in a ticket of course. No answer so far. I’ve also gone  on as HBA and used Live Help twice (he’s my one and only Premium account, the others are freebies) and can honestly say that whilst perfectly friendly, the helpers were fuck all use. They seem to think that all I have to do is log into my new av’s account and use the link lin the Billing Information Section.


I have lost count how many times I’ve explained that to them. Sure in HBA & Ryne, the Billing Information link allows me to delete or update my card or PayPal information, but in both of my new av’s accounts there is no such detail – no links. None. Nada. FUCK ALL! This is what I see in the Billing Information section of both Ya & Bryce:

Now, you tell me where I can put my card or paypal details in there.

One help tech told me I had to try buying something in-world to ‘kick start’ the system into recognising me. Seriously, what the fuck? Still, I’m game for a laugh (normally – in this case I really am not, I rather suspect I’m quite the fucking opposite in fact) so I popped inworld as both Bryce and Ya and clicked on the Buy L$ button. A dialogue box popped up to tell me I could not do such an act and I should click its helpful link to buy some externally. The link took me (via one of the interminable and seemingly random log in screens) to my SL account page. Upon logging in I was shown the Buy L$ option on the Linden Exchange page. I typed in the amount of L$s I wanted and clicked buy – the system whisked me off to an external provider of payment management:

First off there is no PayPal section. Odd as I had just changed both HBA & Ryne to PayPal from my card in their SL account areas and successfully tested that both could buy L$ in-world from my PayPal. Still, no hardship as I could add my card here, test it in-world and then change over to PayPal as I had done for HBA & Ryne. Happy days.

Regular readers may guess that this seemingly happy ending is about to be flushed down the crapper like a week-dead goldfish. Well done you. Gold star.

Despite entering my card details 100% correctly, this service would not progress any further and instead asked me to correct the errors indicated by its handy red error icon. There was no fucking error icon showing. I know this because I then went and entered incorrect data to test it and POOF! the error icon appeared next to that data as promised. Back to correct information and no with NO errors showing I could not progress due to these fucking error fucking icons. Fuckers!

My last life line was the Toll Free UK helpline number! I could just speak to a human being and they would fix this mini-cluster fuck for me! Yay! Humans FTW! I love people, me!

More gold stars, anyone?

The Toll Free number (someone should tell the Lab that we in the UK do not use the term Toll Free and beyond reminding us of dialogue from US TV imports and films, it is meaningless) took me to a recorded message stating that the number was no longer being used and would I be interested in renting it from the owner. No. No I would fucking not. I would be interested in throttling some fucker with it and shoving it up their arse for all to see, but renting it, alas, was not foremost on my mind if I was being honest.

So there it is. My ticket went in two days ago and will no doubt rot like an unflushed week-dead goldfish until I get a useless answer that tells me to “Try the Billing Information section of your account page”.

Amazing. I can not give the Lab my money. I can not link my two new avs to a payment method and let my hard-earned wonga fall into their eager little hands. They must be so tit-deep in wonga that they just don’t need any more – I can only imagine their bog rolls are glued strips of $100 bills and they each ride to meetings on the back of gold unicorns whilst drinking tea made from water strained from their own personal clouds shipped in from Nepal. That’s fine, really it is, but if they could just see their way to making things in SL free so my new avs can actually buy stuff that’d be swell. In the absence of that happening (I realise it will have to percolate through the Love Machine for a few years first) how about you let me give you my card or paypal details for I can send you some new bog roll, eh?

I ask you,  is this a way to run a fucking ballroom?

Fuck me.

Goodbye Cousin Adric

The man behind the avatar Adric Antfarm, died suddenly last weekend and I, like many others, will the miss him greatly. There is a post on his blog from his RL friend:

Filthy, funny, clever, vile and caring Adric was someone I never thought I’d like and found I loved. Sometimes the targets for his anger or amusement made me wince, but invariably the core of what he said was true. Adric didn’t just hold up a mirror to all of our hypocrisies, but he smacked us in the face with it and called us tossers. Or fucking dickwad tossers to be more precise. Anyone who knows me knows I like swearing, and Adric swore like a navvy with his cock trapped in a door.

Another great thing about Adric was his ability to piss Prok AND Hamlet off at the same time. Neither knew what to do with him and for that alone he should be knighted. In fact the only people of note in the top SL bloggers who got him were Dale & Crap, which was a tribute to Crap considering how much Adric took the piss out of the Second Lie (anti-)gestalt on Twitter.

His blog had a hardcore of regular readers and commenters and I’d like to think I was in that number. To think I’ll never see his entry in my Google Reader go black with unread goodies again makes me very, very sad.

I don’t believe in god, heaven or anything after we die, but that doesn’t stop me smiling to think right now he’s clogging up the Almighty’s free-wifi with porn and endless YouTubes of idiots fighting on live TV or public transport.

I’m raising my cup of tea (if it helps, it’s strong tea) to you cousin Antfarm, you part Welsh, part Native American, all American bobby dazzler!

I’ll miss you, mate.


As ever, timezone differences meant I never really got to meet Adric in SL – he did come to the last season of The Show Must Go On and I snapped these shots of the handsome bastard 😉
TSMGO (Halloween Special) - 31st October 2009

TSMGO - 4th July 2009

All the diodes down my left side…

I have a snazzy computer. OK, it’s not a shit-hot gaming machine, but it didn’t cost me £2,000 so I never expected it to be. But still, way back in December 09 when I had the Great Graphics Card Balls Up (had to buy a new card, it didn’t fit in my PC or on my motherboard and I ended up buying a whole new PC in kit form and building it myself) I expected great things from it.

Well I’ve only had great-ish things from it.

It plays games wonderfully but it still finds SL a grind at times and a couple of weekends ago things came to a dramatic head when it simply refused to play ball during the Bay City 2nd Anniversary and I missed the Parade.

I think I’ve fixed it – I’ve certainly had no problems since Osprey’s advice, but in case anyone is looking for help with a similar issue, here’s what I did:

1) Cleared the cache. 4 times. Result: On relog things back to normal but not for long.

2) Defrag HD. Twice. Result: None.

3) Added 2Gb memory to take total to 4Gb. Result: None I can see so far but not tested much yet.

4) Switched on multi-threading in the SL client prefs (this was Os’ advice and it helps SL cope with multiple programs running on the computer). Result: This seems to have cracked it and I’ve had no problems since.

All in all it’s been hard to tell what worked as I was doing everything at the same time (bar adding the memory – that came a few days after and the system was running OK by then) but if you’re having problems, try the multi-threading thing out. Note, this is different from multi-threading on nVidia graphics cards which is about linking cards together.

Coming back to the same old gubbins…

Well, I’ve missed SL these last 2 or 3 days. My wee head has been full of (other than snot I should say) storylines for HBA & Ryne and I’d like to get back to writing them. I’m less angry about the snapshot error (please vote on the Jira here) and therefore thinking about returning.

That was until I started reading up on the blogs.

Lindens gone & Viewer 2.0 being less that optimal. yay.

Maybe I’ll stay out here a bit longer, huh? See what happens before I come out from under the duvet?

But then this *is* SL – it’s never perfect and always frustrating and it’s the only show in town so what choice do I have?

Argh! Who am I kidding? I love it! Yes SL is a big bag of gold nugets & shit, but at least there’s some gold, eh?

Righto then, see you this weekend for the Nova Albion Parade (which will lag like a bastard, crash many of us out several times, not allow group chat and deny any snapshot uploads but which will also be fun), ok?

I’m dropping SL for a bit.

I’m not leaving. I’m just not enjoying my time in-world right now so I’m taking a holiday. Chief annoyance is the inability to take snapshots (I think it’s this error on the Jira). I don’t build or script in SL, I write stories and take pictures. Work is so busy I don’t have the time or energy for the former and SL is so fucking borked I can’t do the later so what is the point of being there? When I can talk to my friends via email & twitter, etc. then the reason I use SL is for a creative outlet, and SL itself won’t let me. I’m off to play simple pleasure hit games like Bioshock & Left 4 Dead until someone fixes SL. If you want me, you know how to get me.


Right, I’ve had enough. I want to IM in-world from my phone. Before you mention Sparkle or Touch Life let me stop you there. I *don’t* have a iPhone or iPad or an iAnything. I have a Windows Mobile phone.That means my phone, whilst having some lovely features life a working Office suite, was designed to be as much fun as say your average stapler and has apps like Weather! and Productivity Now! and GeoTagMe!


Enough. I want – and will fucking wll pay for! – an app that allows me to IM with SL. That’s all. That’s not a lot to ask for. Just IM. I’d love more, but I will settle for IM. Now will someone please – PLEASE – make the fucker and put me out of my Windows Mobile misery.